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Students at Ireland's first drama school for people with intellectual disabilities to graduate today

The students have already launched their own theatre company, and will unveil a play in the new year.

'One Love' a show produced by students of Blue Diamond.
'One Love' a show produced by students of Blue Diamond.
Image: JONATHAN STOKES

STUDENTS OF IRELAND’S first stage school for people with intellectual disabilities will graduate later today. 

Blue Diamond Academy in Dublin was established in 2016 to “expand the offer at third level for people with intellectual disabilities and learning difficulties. 

10 students will graduate from the school with a certificate in Drama Performance at the Gaiety theatre this morning.

The school has now grown to 40 students both full and part-time. Students have varying needs from Down Syndrome to Autism, and the programme aims to provide them with the skills required for work in the arts. 

IMG_2143 'One Love' a show produced by students of Blue Diamond will launch in Smock Alley in January.

CEO Kate Sheridan told TheJournal.ie “it’s about including adults with disabilities in employment and to do this through the arts to encourage broader societal change”. 

Sheridan said she hopes that by training adults in the arts and opening up doors, it will work to remove the stigma around employing people with disabilities.

She spoke of one student graduating today who said “he felt left behind by society, that there was nowhere for him to go to”. 

Sheridan said already students are seeing success:

The group has established a theatre company called Blue Diamond and they will launch their first production One love at the Smock Alley on January 31st. Student Daniel Ryan has gotten a role in Blood on Virgin Media One, while another student has found her voice as a writer. 

Florence Adebambo, of ‘Taken Down’, Screenwriter Nick Kelly are guests of honour at the ceremony in the Gaiety Theatre this morning. 

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